Bhutan is a small land locked country sandwiched between two giant nations of China and India. Bhutan is also known as Druk-Yul translating to the land of mysterious thunder dragon.
Bhutan is a small land locked country sandwiched between two giant nations of China and India. Bhutan is also known as Druk-Yul translating to the land of mysterious thunder dragon. The history of Bhutan mainly revolves around the ancient Buddhist traditions dating back to 746 AD when Guru Rinpoche, the great Tantric Master visited Bhutan. He introduced Buddhism in Bhutan.
In the medieval era, Bhutan was fragmented into several territories and had numerous leaders in hunger of power. It was during this time in the history when Zhandrung Nagwang Namgyel came to Bhutan from Tibet sometimes in 1616 AD. Zhabdrung unified the nation under his dynamic vision with his religious as well as political capabilities. Zhabdrung introduced the system of central administration, built many fortresses and set up the independent country of Druk Yul.
It was in 1907 when Bhutan saw the first monarch, King Ugyen Wangchuck in her history. Since then, Bhutan walked on the path of global development and happiness succeeded by consecutive monarch. The Great Fourth, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck introduced the concept of Gross National Happiness as a holistic approach to balance materialistic development of the country with the happiness of the people. In 2006, His majesty Jigme Singye Wangchck abdicated the golden throne voluntarily and handed over his responsibilities to the 5th King, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and around the same time Bhutan transformed into Constitutional Democratic Monarchy from absolute monarchy system of governance.
Bhutan is located in the Eastern Himalayas in Asia with China in the north and India in the South. Bhutan has an area of 38394 square km. Bhutan is a mountainous country with elevations ranging from 180 m above sea level to 7400 m above sea level. Bhutan is divided into three major geographic zones namely, the southern zone, the central zone and the northern zone. The central zone is further divided into three zones of Western Bhutan, Central Bhutan and Eastern Bhutan. The southern zone is characterized by tropical humid forests with average temperature of 20 degree centigrade. The central zone is covered in semi tropical alpine forests. The northern zone stretches from 6500 m to 7400 m featured by snowcapped Himalayas.
Bhutan is rich in terms of her undisturbed biodiversity. Bhutan is blessed with diverse natural flora and fauna and is identified as one of the ten biological hotspots in the world. The Royal Government of Bhutan incorporates conservation strategies with the overall development policies such as the constitutional pledge to maintain 60% forest cover for all times to come
The arts and crafts have deep essence and association to Buddhist religion. They are subjective and symbolic. The following are the 13 unique Bhutanese arts and crafts locally known as zorig chusum:
- Lhazo (Paintings)
- Shingzo (Carpenter)
- Parzo (Carvings)
- Jinzo (Sculpture)
- Lungzo (Casting)
- Garzo (Blacksmith)
- Tsharzo (Bamboo works)
- Ngulzo (Gold and Silver Smith)
- Thagzo (Weaving)
- Tsenzo (Embroidery)
- Dozo (Masonry)
- Kozo (Leather works)
- Dezo (Paper works
Ancient Bhutanese architectural designs and styles are unique and thrilling. Bhutanese architecture does not use nails and iron bars. The designs are rich in the sense, they hold religious values and meanings. The most vivid illustrations range from a simple traditional Bhutanese house to the giant fortresses in the country.
The state religion in Bhutan belongs to the Drukpa sect of Kagudpa, school of Mahayana Buddhism. Most people are Buddhists. Yeshi Gonpo or Mahakala is the main protective diety of Bhutan having manifestation of raven.
The national language of Bhutan is Dzongkha which means the language spoken for communication in Dzongs. Dzongkha is natively spoken by the people living in the western region of the country. Besides Dzongkha, the major dialects spoken by the Bhutanese people are Sharchokpa in the east and Lhotsampa in the south.
Gross National Happiness
The concept of Gross National Happiness of GNH was first introduced by the fourth king of Bhutan. It is a holistic developmental approach that aims in balancing materialistic development while also not forgetting the happiness and emotional aspects of the fellow citizens. GNH is different from GDP. GDP primarily focuses on consumerism whereas GNH is all about the happiness of the people.
The concept consists of four main pillars as follows:
- Good Governance: Good governance is all about good government policies primarily focused on accountability and transparency to establish a firm democratic form of governance.
- Sustainable Socio Economic Development: This pillar takes into consideration the social factors along with economic factors in the developmental strategies.
- Preservation of Culture: Preservation and promotion of the unique Bhutanese culture to keep the age old value system and identity intact.
- Environmental Conservation: The conservation of rich biodiversity to play a crucial role in the ecosystem.